Ahead of the deadline for all prospective candidates to submit their nomination for the upcoming General Election, the Community Media Association called on its members, their friends and family, and the wider public to ask for more support and recognition for community radio from prospective MPs.
The CMA highlights three possible initiatives that will benefit current and aspiring community radio stations:
To call for a substantial increase in the Community Radio Fund to better meet the needs of current community radio stations and to support the new digital community radio stations to be licensed from next year.
To support a commitment from central and local Government to recognise that community radio is a low-cost and effective medium for reaching underserved communities and to direct a proportion of government advertising to community radio stations.
To commit to supporting a call to DCMS and Ofcom that community radio continues to be licensed on FM spectrum in parallel with the future rollout of licences on the new SSDAB platform.
The Community Radio Fund, established by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and administered by Ofcom, has remained static at £400,000 for many years whilst the number of potential beneficiaries has grown significantly to nearly 300 stations.
Ofcom’s 2019 Communications Market Report shows that average income for community radio stations has fallen for yet another consecutive year to circa £49,000. Community radio reaches underserved communities and should therefore be considered as a platform to carry local and national public service announcements.
There remains a number of community media projects that aspire to broadcast on FM and it is feared that they will probably have to wait years before they get a chance to apply for an FM licence whilst the focus is turned to the new small-scale DAB platform.
The CMA has created a template letter, that can be adapted by its members and their contacts, to be sent to the election candidates. The template can be downloaded here:
Danny Lawrence, Chairman of the CMA, says “The Community Media Association wants to use the opportunity of a General Election to bring the concerns of the community radio sector to the attention of our prospective MPs so as to start to address the chronic issues that our sector has had to endure for many years”.
Bill Best, Operations Manager of the CMA said “Community radio has many great friends in Government but it is now high time that the goodwill that is frequently shown in Parliament towards the sector is translated into tangible long-term improvements for the sustainability of the sector”.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The Community Media Association (CMA) champions access to community radio and local television for all to change lives, build diverse participation in social dialogue and give even the smallest communities a voice.
A non-profit membership organisation formed in 1983, the CMA leads advocacy for and governance of the UK’s movement of community broadcasters, which grew rapidly following a successful CMA campaign to establish community radio FM licences in 2004.
The CMA champions its members to uphold the Community Media Charter of best practice and celebrates members’ achievement with the annual Community Media Conference, regional networking events, a monthly Community Media Newsletter, an informative online discussion forum, and supports Internet radio through its flagship media streaming service, Canstream.